We recently reported that STET The English Theatre in The Hague looked as though it will have its subsidy from the City of The Hague withdrawn. The same fate is awaiting Loius and Michel Behre and their CrossingBorder and BorderKitchen events. They have sent out this appeal . . .


The Commission has given the advice to the alderman of Culture, Robert van Asten, to stop  the subsidies towards Crossing Border.

After 28 years, they’ve suddenly made the decision that two literature festivals (Crossing Border and Writers Unlimited) are too many for The Hague and without clear reasoning, Crossing Border should cease to exist.

A successful festival with so many visitors, lots of press attention and acknowledgement in national and foreign media, big media sponsorships with De Volkskrant, VPRO and more. All those national and international authors and publishers that keep telling us that there’s nothing like Crossing Border and that they’re always eager to return to it. We’ve welcomed thousands of writers and musicians over the past 28 years, but have also given the spotlight to many new talents.

All of this would disappear in The Hague!

Usually, we’re quick to respond, but we needed to process this, we were all in a state of shock by this advice, which came out of the blue. That’s why we’ve waited a few days before responding, because if this were to be final, everything we’ve built in 28 years would be gone from the 1st of January 2021.

Nobody in the Commission is a literature expert. Literature was the responsibility of chairman Johannes Leertouwer, someone from the world of classical music. None of the Commission members have ever been to Crossing Border.

We’re stunned, taken aback and insulted (because we don’t recognise ourselves in the slightest in the negative advice given), but we’re not knock-out yet. We will fight back, and we could use all the help we can get.

It would be fantastic if we can collectively save Crossing Border, because this can’t be happening, Crossing Border needs to live beyond 2021.

We very much welcome your help.

Would you please write down in your own words a response to this advice from the Commission: Why do you feel Crossing Border should stay? What would you tell the Alderman Robert van Asten as to why this ridiculous advice should be reversed, while it still is possible?   Louis & Michel Behre

Please leave your response by sending an email to to or

List to the ArtsTalk Radio interview with Michel Behre